Girls Ministries Honor Celebration

Last night our church held its annual Girls Ministries Honor Celebration.    The Girls Ministries program includes seven club and ministers to girls from birth through high school graduation.  Our preschool clubs, Sunlight Kids and Rainbows, also includes little boys.  The Honor Celebration marks the end of our “academic” year in Girls Ministries and celebrates the achievements of each girl and boy in the program.

 

Our Rainbow club is made up of 3 and 4 year old boys and girls.

 

From the earliest ages, the children are taught Biblical principles.   They earn badges by completing a unit consisting of 4 or 6 lessons and memorizing a memory verse for that unit. In the younger classes, those who complete the required number of units in their program graduate with “Honor” and are recognized as Honor Rainbows, Honor Daisies, and Honor Prims.  The older classes require additional work, including Bible reading, memorizing the Assemblies of God Statement of Faith, and being tested on all their memory verses to be recognized as Honor Stars, Honor Friends, and Honor Girls Only.

One of the highlights of the program is being crowned an Honor Star.  The Stars class is for girls in third through fifth grade.  To be crowned an Honor Star, a young girl has to read the entire New Testament, complete 27 units and nine Honor requirements.  Honor requirements include memorizing the names of the books of the Old and New Testaments, memorizing the Lord’s prayer, doing a study of the life of Christ, keeping a prayer journal, and memorizing several other scriptures.  It is quite a feat for an 11-year old girl to complete the requirements to be recognized as an Honor Star.

Last night four of our girls were crowned Honor Stars.  They are beautiful young ladies inside and out.  I am very proud of them and all that they have accomplished.

Three of our newly crowned Honor Stars with two of last year’s Honor Stars.

I have been privileged to be a part of Girls Ministries for more than 40 years, first as a girl in the program and since 1979 as a teacher.  The Girls Ministries program, as well as our boys’ program called Royal Rangers, impart truths of God’s Word to children at a very young age and prepare them to be Christian leaders in the families, churches, and communities. 

Helping Girls Discover Who They Are in Christ

When I was a high school math teacher, one of my students made a statement to her classmates along the lines of “High school is the best time of our lives, people.  You better enjoy it.”  I challenged her assertion and explained that she had so many wonderful events in her life ahead of her—college, marriage, and children just to name a few. When she thought it over, she could see that the sentiment she expressed was actually very negative.  Yet, I’ve heard adults make the same comment to their high school children.

For many people high school was a wonderful experience, and they look back wistfully on that period when they had lots of free time to spend with their friends and they were still under the protection of their parents.  Unfortunately, however, high school is a very tough time for many other teenagers.  Some teens struggle with making friends and feel like they don’t fit into any groups. Teens are pressured to wear the right clothing and hairstyles. Girls may be teased for being overweight or not fashionable, and bullies pick on smaller, weaker guys.    Even the athletes and beauty queens are pressured to live up to worldly standards of physical perfection that are unrealistic. It’s no wonder that many teens struggle with low self-esteem.  

In writing and in working with girls in my church, I am passionate about trying to help girls and women discover their truth worth as children of God.  For 32 years, I have been privileged to work in my church’s Girls Ministries program.  I became involved in this ministry while I was in college. My 8-year old sister volunteered me to teach a group of younger girls so they wouldn’t be in her class.  I was available, so I agreed to serve.  It wasn’t long, however, before I realized that Girls Ministries would be one of my life’s missions.  

The Girls Ministries program exist to introduce girls to Christ and to help them find their place and purpose in life.  One of the primary goals is to help girls realize that they are loved and esteemed by God.  Their worth and value as human beings has nothing to do with their abilities, their actions, or their appearance.  They are valuable because God created them and loves them. 

I once heard a preacher say that the most profound message of God’s Word can be summed up in “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  Jesus loves me and Jesus loves you.  He loves each and every girl, regardless of her appearance, her background, her home life, or the mistakes she has made.  This is the message we desire to impress on the heart of each girl. John 3:16 is perhaps the best-known verse in the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  God loves each girl and His love is so great He sent Jesus to die on the cross for her sins, so that she can spend eternity in Heaven with Him.  

Of course, the girls hear this message in Sunday School and church.  So, why do they need Girls Ministries?  I believe that Girls Ministries is important for girls to learn how to fulfill God’s purposes for them as women.  Girls need a place where they can meet without boys present.  Girls Ministries affords girls an opportunity to be themselves without trying to impress boys and to discuss concerns that should not be discussed in mixed company.  

In a girls-only environment, we address sensitive issues such as dating standards and sexual purity.  We teach them to apply makeup to enhance their appearance and to dress modestly, so as not to tempt boys to have inappropriate sexual thoughts about them.  We give them tools to recognize verbal or physical abuse and encourage them to date only Christian young men who share their beliefs and who treat them with respect and courtesy. We also teach girls that they will make mistakes and they will have to ask God to forgive them.  When they seek forgiveness, God forgives.  However, they may still have to live with the consequences of their mistakes.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) Each girl in our program learns that God has a wonderful plan for her life.  She can achieve this plan if she follows the instructions in God’s manual.  God’s commands are not to restrict her, but to allow her to live life as fully as He has planned for her. A girl who appreciates this truth will not struggle with self-image or lack of worth.  She will realize how valuable she is to the one who created her and she will grow into a confident young women equipped to fulfill God’s purposes for her life.